Kurdish, Northern


A language of Turkey

Alternate Names
Kermancî, Kirmancî, Kurdish Kurmanji, Kurdiya jorîn, Kurdmancî, Kurdî, Kurmanji Kurdish, Kurmanjî
Kurdî-Kurmancî, Kurmancî

8,150,000 in Turkey (Leclerc 2014c), decreasing. 3,000,000 monolinguals. Especially in Hakkari and Shirnak provinces. Total users in all countries: 14,605,670.


Widespread, especially east and southeast.

Language Status

3 (Wider communication).


Boti (Botani), Marashi, Ashiti, Bayezidi, Hekari, Shemdinani, Shikakî, Silivî, Mihemedî. Dialect differences but all use the same written form. A member of macrolanguage Kurdish [kur].

Language Use

Home, market, political situations. Many are adults above age 30. Positive attitudes. Most also use Turkish [tur]. Also use Northern Zazaki [kiu], Southern Zazaki [diq]. Used as L2 by Domari [rmt], Hértevin [hrt], Southern Zazaki [diq].

Language Development

Literacy rate in L1: Overall about 83%, but not differentiated by L1 or L2 usage. While overall speakers are decreasing, literates are increasing. Many literary works from 16th and 17th centuries onward. Literature. Newspapers. Periodicals. Radio. TV. Videos. Dictionary. Grammar. Texts. Bible: 2008.


Arabic script, Naskh variant [Arab], used in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Armenian script [Armn], used between 1921–1929, used in Armenia. Cyrillic script [Cyrl], used in Russia and Armenia. Latin script [Latn], developed in 1932, used in Turkey and Syria.

Other Comments

Muslim, Yezidi.

Also spoken in:

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